ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Arlydia Bufford was shot on June 22 while eating at an Applebee’s in St. John. She is recovering at a rehab facility, but firefighters have a surprise for when she gets home.
Kinloch Fire Chief Kevin Stewart told FOX 2 News that Bufford’s care team said she may be able to go home in the first week of August.
Before Bufford gets home, firefighters have been hard at work making sure her home is safe for her return.
“She doesn’t know this,” Chief Stewart said. “I’ve been working with the family, making sure they’ve been taken care of, as we got closer to realizing that shes going to be coming soon, I asked the parents, ‘what is it that we can do to help make the home safe and make it more comfortable for Arlydia and the entire family?'”
The Bufford’s home needed new flooring in Arlydia’s bedroom and the hall that leads to her room to make sure it was even for her to walk on during recovery.
Chief Stewart said he put out a request through the St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association and many firefighters, some who have never met Bufford, showed up to the family’s home to help a fellow first responder.
“It’s the least that we could do, give her a nice floor to walk on, a new beginning, something nice to look at, just to help with her recovery,” University City Fire Dept Captain Daniel Jones said. “It’s just the essence of being a fireman.”
““I wanted to help out our fellow firefighter and help out the family, that’s part out of our family and when it happened it hit home,” Marques Blackmon, Kinloch battalion chief said.
Chief Stewart said her doctor’s are amazed at her recovery.
“She’s walking, she’s talking, she’s having conversations, she’s joking, she’s in good spirits and she’s determined to get back to work,” he said;
“She’s a wonderful, wonderful girl, very outgoing, smart, just amazing, amazing girl, do anything for you, I’d do anything for her,” said fellow firefighter and Kinloch Fire Protection District captain Darion Meeks said.
“We are forever grateful to our brothers and sisters in the fire service who continue to stand with us and continue to stand with Arlydia,” Chief Stewart said.
He also said there’s a few more repairs they plan to make in the Bufford’s home including fixing an electrical issue and repairing a back deck.
He said Bufford’s father crashed his vehicle while rushing to see his daughter after she was shot and firefighters are trying to figure out a way to get the family another vehicle to help as well.